SOME INFORMATION FIRST
What is Arthritis? Arthritis is a term often used to mean any disorder that affects joints. Symptoms generally include joint pain and stiffness. Other symptoms may include redness, warmth, swelling, and decreased range of motion of the affected joints. In some types other organs are also affected. Onset can be gradual or sudden.
There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, each with different causes and treatment. However, the two most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid Arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is the degeneration of joint cartilage and the underlying bone, most common from middle age onward. It causes pain and stiffness, especially in the hip, knee, and thumb joints. This is the type my husband has, especially in his thumbs. Anything involving the thumbs, such as texting for example, can cause him excruciating pain. He takes the CBD oil as a treatment, but more on this later.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is a chronic progressive disease causing inflammation in the joints and resulting in painful deformity and immobility, especially in the fingers, wrists, feet, and ankles. This is the type my mother-in-law has, especially in her fingers which are very painful.
Who has Arthritis?
Osteoarthritis is the most common joint disorder in the United States and affects approximately 27 million Americans and approximately 10% of Canadians aged 15 or older and seems to be about twice as common in women than in men.
Ways to alleviate the pain of osteoarthritis include exercise, weight loss, heat and cold, over the counter pain creams, Capsaicin, medication and surgery.
Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common type of autoimmune arthritis. Some ways to help are: seeking early treatment for long term results including reduction of pain and swelling and damage to the joints; regular exercise; and getting proper treatment from a rheumatologist.
Rheumatoid arthritis is not discriminatory. Famous actresses, Kathleen Turner and Tatum O’neal, both suffer from it. The Arthritis Foundation estimates that about 1.5 million people in the United States have rheumatoid arthritis and, like osteoarthritis, is more common in women than men.
“I’ve got to get ahead of it,” she says. “I’ve got to! I have a young spirit and want to be able to do anything in the world that I want to do. I want a long, healthy life.” ~Tatum O’Neal
In addition to these two forms of arthritis, Fibromyalgia and gout are also quite common and considered a form of arthritis. Fibromyalgia is described as widespread pain and comes with a whole spectrum of other symptoms such as fatigue, inability to concentrate, mood and sleep issues.
Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis but it is uric acid crystals that are the problem and can cause extreme painful joint inflammation.
Are Current Prescribed Drugs Effective?
Let’s take a look at the most common prescribed drugs and their side effects.
NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), can be present in both prescription drugs such as celebrex or oxaprozin and over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen or aspirin.
Side Effects: heartburn and belching, bleeding ulcers, bruising, dizziness, kidney problems, allergy problems, dry mouth, risk of heart attacks and high blood pressure.
Steroids (corticosteroids) are synthetic drugs and work by decreasing inflammation.
Side Effects: high blood pressure, eye problems such as cataracts or glaucoma, bruising, sleep issues, acne, blurred vision, increased appetite, high blood sugar, mood swings, water retention.
Methotrexate, formerly known as amethopterin, is a chemotherapy agent and immune system suppressant. It is used to treat cancer, autoimmune diseases, ectopic pregnancy, and for medical abortions. It is used to relieve symptoms and to slow down arthritis; it can be injected or taken orally.
Side Effects: nausea, headaches, and fatigue, with the most serious side effect being liver damage.
Biologic Drugs (derived from living organisms) are obtained from humans or animals, such as human blood, insulin or influenza vaccine. They are genetically engineered proteins that target specific parts of the immune system that fuel inflammation.
Side Effects: infection is the main one, reactivating Hepatitis B, allergy reactions (such as itchiness, shortness of breath, itchy eyes and lips), vision problems, numbness, cardiac reactions, joint and body pain.
USING CBD TO TREAT ARTHRITIS
Now that you know a bit about arthritis and pharmaceutical drugs prescribed and their side effects, let’s take a look at CBD. If you are anything like me, we cringe when we read about the side effects of drugs. I have been prescribed drugs by my family doctor that I refused to take because of the scary side effects associated with them.
Past studies suggest that CBD oil could play a significant role in the treatment of arthritis. It is believed it affects receptors in the brain and immune system and it may reduce inflammation and pain.
A study done in 2016 on rats with arthritis showed a reduced inflammation and overall pain in affected joints with no side effects, but again more research is needed on humans.
Here is an excellent video with Dr. Jason McDougall, sharing his expertise and knowledge. Dr. McDougall is the Professor of Pharmacology and Anaesthesia, Dalhousie University Chair, Scientific Advisory Committee, The Arthritis Society. While he doesn’t come right out and say that CBD helps arthritis, what he does say is that it has been ‘shown’ to be effective in controlling pain and inflammation. He also goes on to say the Medical Cannabis prescribed by doctors has shown evidence that it can be effective in alleviating arthritis pain, inflammation and fatigue.
His lab is currently looking at how cannabis can be used to treat arthritic pain and inflammation but feels there is still so much to learn, such as proper dosage, the best way to administer it and interactions with other pain medications.
Studies have shown that CBD oils for most people are well tolerated but there are a few that may experience tiredness, sleeplessness, irritability and nausea.
- has no nasty side effects
- is non-psychoactive
- does not alter functionality
Hundreds of people are using CBD oils for arthritis and find they get the best results when combined with exercise, changes in diet and pharmaceutical drugs, either prescribed or over the counter.
There are several CBD oils on the market that are produced to treat arthritis. A few of these are Elixinol, Greenroadsworld, PureKana, and CBDPure (which originates from Denmark). These oils are all organic and of very high quality.
What About THC?
As explained in earlier blogs, THC is the component in Marijuana that is responsible for the ‘high’ or euphoria; you can buy CBD oils with virtually little or no THC. However, strains with a little THC have shown to help reduce the anxiety and depression that commonly accompanies severe diseases, such as arthritis. Only you and your medical practitioner can decide if you want or need the added THC and the amount that is best for you.
(Disclaimer: Please be advised that this is not a medical endorsement.)
My husband has been using CBD oil for several months for his arthritic pain with great results. Do you have someone in your family, or someone you know who has arthritis? Have they used CBD oil to treat it. Please feel free to share your comments below.